Karabakh Foreign Minister Refuses to be Pressured

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian met Friday with Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who was in Karabakh for a two-day visit.

Upon Pallone’s request–Melkoumian discussed the negotiating process in light of the recent OSCE ministerial meeting in Copenhagen. She said that Azerbaijan had toughened its position and avoided serious discussions of the Karabakh status–which–according to her–was conditioned by mediators’ actions.

Melkoumian stressed that pressure on Karabakh to accept decisions unacceptable by Karabakh is unacceptable in itself.

The foreign minister stressed the need for direct talks between Stepanakert and Baku–and the signing of a legally shaped tripartite agreement on cease-fire.

According to her–this will allow to consolidate cease-fire and step up the peacemaking process. She said that all those concerned with peace and stability in the region must direct their efforts at attaining these goals.

Congressman Pallone pledged assistance in furthering talks and securing an impartial solution to the Karabakh problem. To this end–he highlighted the importance of organizing congressional hearings to inform the US Congress of Karabakh’s stance and to prevent linking the oil shipment problem to the Karabakh conflict settlement.

The sides also discussed issues regarding direct US assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh worth $12.5 million–as well as mechanisms of implementation of a series of humanitarian programs in the republic.

Thanking US authorities for their support–Melkoumian stated that that humanitarian act inspired hope that mutual understanding and confidence between Karabakh and the US would grow.

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